In the post below I discussed teaching our children gratitude. I forgot to mention one thing we do which teaches gratefulness the most; thank you notes.
Thank you notes are almost a thing of the past. This is sad and possibly selfish. Nothing replaces the warmth and love the feeling of a hand written note or letter gives to a reader. I have lovingly kept cards and notes from all of the dear people currently in my life and those who are no longer living. Seeing the writing and words from my grandmother warms my soul. I am so glad that she believed in writing cards and notes to me, so I have these treasures to hold and feel connected to her.
I know it sounds like I probably keep every piece of paper that comes my way. I don't. But, I do keep papers that make me feel things, so I can remember the important people and feelings in my life. I put these dear possessions in a scrapbook meant for holding them.
As much as getting a heart-felt thank you note is a treasure, writing one is even more valuable. The writer of the thank you note gets to search her feelings for her friend or family member and express them. Writing words of thanks strengthens relationships and inspires a feeling of gratitude. This selfless act encourages sacrifice and lasting love in relationships. A person who grows up thinking to stop and say thank you will find great relationships and personal joy in life.
Each Christmas and Birthday, I have my children have a thank you day. On this day we make a list of all the kind things people have done for us or given us and then make home made thank you cards for each person on our list, and send them out.
Thank you notes are contagious. One thank you note inspires another. Spread the kindness this Christmas by starting with your own act of gratitude at home.
P.S. don't make it take forever. Make your cards simple in design, and meaningful in text. Fancy cards are beautiful, and often impress, but the most important thing is touching hearts and changing the heart of the writer. This means your little writer shouldn't feel like the process is supposed to be long and painful. Keep your thank you card writing time short, sweet, and meaningful.